APRIL 15: Marie Høeg (1866-1949)


On this day in 1866, the influential lesbian photographer
and suffragist, Marie Høeg, was born in Langesund, Norway.

In a photo found in Marie Høeg’s private collection decades after her death, the Norwegian photographer smirks for the camera (x). 

Before the 1980s, Marie was simply remembered as one of many
women who were trying their best to eek out an independent life in the brave,
new world of the nineteenth century; she was a member of the Women’s Rights
Movement, she was a suffragist, and she owned her photography studio
is Oslo. However, in the mid-1980s, an old box marked “Private” would change Marie
Høeg’s legacy forever. Inside the box were dozens of images of Marie and her “business
partner” (read: life partner) Bolette Berg, dressing in men’s clothing, wearing
fake mustaches, and just generally being silly with each other. All 440
photographs that were found in the women’s private collection are now on display at Preus Museum, but you can find an array of them here!

Marie and Bolette mocked gender roles in their photography, which often featured their dog Tuss (can you spot him?) (x). 

Marie first studied photography in Brevik. After completing
an apprenticeship, she moved to Finland briefly where she was first introduced to
the concept of feminism and became a passionate member of the Women’s Right
Movement. The details on how Marie met her eventual partner, Bolette Berg, are
unclear, but in 1895, the two moved back to Norway together and set up shop. They
owned a photography studio called Berg & Høeg, which also functioned as a hub
for feminists and suffragists to meet and discuss their ideas. Marie and
Bolette also stated the publishing company, Berg og Høghs Kunstforlag A.S.,
later on in life. Marie passed away on February 22, 1949, but today she is
remembered as the innovative and carefree lesbian artist she truly was.